Saturday, April 13, 2024

台灣演義 episode about the World United Formosans for Independence

I came across this video in my search for more information about WUFI, the World United Formosans for Independence organization. Unlike some other 台灣演義 videos that I've posted, this one has English subtitles! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Preparing for a presentation in Japan

I've been invited to talk at the Center for Asian Studies at Kanagawa University in Yokohama about my research on George H. Kerr. My lecture is entitled, "Formosa's "Borrowed Voice": George H. Kerr's Struggle to Chronicle Taiwan's Postwar Trauma," playing on the title of Linda Arrigo and Lynn Miles' book, A Borrowed Voice: Taiwan Human Rights through International Networks, 1960-1980 (a book you should get if you haven't yet!). Like the "foreigners" Arrigo and Miles describe who lent their voices to speak for Taiwanese who, at the time, would be in danger if they spoke out themselves, Kerr tried to use his voice to tell Americans about what was happening in Taiwan as soon as he left the island after the February 28 Incident. But he struggled to write and publish a complete account of what happened, for reasons I'll describe in my talk.

My lecture is on April 19--if you happen to be in the Yokohama area, here's where you can get more information to register!

I'm also working on an article manuscript about this topic, which has been accepted with revisions required. (That might take a little while because I'm also speaking at the North American Taiwan Studies Association conference in June. Yikes!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

This blog is 20 years old!

A lot has happened since I typed out these words.  

A Pennsylvania Dutch proverb that I often heard as a child goes, "Ve git too soon oldt und too late schmart." I think that about sums things up. I don't have any words of wisdom to share after 20 years of off-and-on blogging. I sort of do this for my own entertainment, I guess, so I don't have high expectations for it. (Though I have at times referred to it in my annual self-criticisms merit reviews as an example of the writing that I do.)

If anyone is curious, though, here's a list of what are currently the top three posts on this thing, according to Blogger stats:

Odd that the top 3 are all from the summer of 2016. I have my own favorites from before that. Like this 2005 review of 走出白色恐怖 (Farewell to the White Terror) by 孫康宜 (Sun Kang-i). 

And this 2006 post on the Freshman Chinese curriculum reform at Tunghai and its 2013 follow-up on how the course was going. (Yikes! I can't believe the follow-up itself is over 10 years old!!) 

And, of course, this 2005 posting of a FICTIONAL love story that I wrote with the help of the former native Chinese speaker back in 1996. Always liked this story. I can still recite some of it, which always impresses my wife! 

Any other posts I should add to this list?

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Need to watch: Fareed Zakaria's CNN special about "Taiwan: Unfinished Business"

I saw an ad for this Fareed Zakaria special on Taiwan, but I wasn't able to see it when it was on CNN, so I'm recording it and will watch it later.

I saw that some people on Twitter criticized the title, wondering whose "unfinished business" it was--the CCP's? One poster (Isla Island) wrote, "'Unfinished business' parrots Beijing's propaganda that its planned invasion & annexation of Taiwan is part of a 'unfinished Chinese civil war'."

I thought the title was interesting in light of the fact that one of the early titles for George H. Kerr's Formosa Betrayed was The Formosan Affair: Unfinished Business on the Pacific Frontier--and then just The Formosan Affair: Unfinished Business. Evidently that title was considered by Houghton Mifflin to be a bit too dry, which is why we ended up with Formosa Betrayed (I really think an exclamation point would go well at the end of that: Formosa Betrayed!). 

Anyway, I'm curious to see what Zakaria has to say. Will it be better than John Oliver's masterful piece on Taiwan, in which he compares it to the "Stanley Cup": "different people keep passing it around and and carving their names on it"? We'll see...

[Update, 3/14: I liked John Oliver's version better.]

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Two new books in the former native speaker's library

University of Hawai'i Press has a clearance sale going, so I bought two books--I think they were a dollar each:

I have to admit, though, that I haven't had time to read anything except for student writing since the beginning of the semester, so I don't know when I'll get around to reading these. Ah, for those long lost days of my "sabbatical"...

Saturday, February 03, 2024

Three new books in the former native speaker's library

Not much to say about these yet because I'm still buried in reading student work, last semester's "sabbatical" a distant bittersweet memory...

This last book is outdated, and the reviews I've seen (here and here) have been mixed at best, but I wanted it to see how the author deals with Taiwan's postwar history in the context of communication studies (though he is a political scientist). 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

A video about the history of trains in Taiwan

Think I'll watch this when I get a chance. I tried to get my son the train fanatic to watch this with me, but he lost interest because I couldn't translate it fast enough...